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So, you have decided to buy a treadmill. Congratulation on your decision since you have made the first step towards a healthier and fitter life. But you want to know “What treadmill is right for me?”
Buying a home treadmill is not about getting into the first store and get one. There are hundreds of models out there with different features and price ranges. It is vital to know what are the most important treadmill features first to pick the one that will suit you the best.
Within this treadmill buying guide, I would like to teach what you should pay attention to when you buy your home exercise equipment. There are going to be many things we are going to talk about but in the end, you will know everything about this beneficial cardio equipment.
Reviews: Best Treadmills for home under $1000
What Types of Treadmills Are There?
This type of fitness equipment used to be very popular. The manual treadmills are simple and cheap machines, so they are suitable for beginners or for those who do not want to use them seriously.
These equipment do not have motors, so you make the belt move by your power. They move as fast as you go. Hence, you adjust the speed while you workout. They are more suitable for walking rather than running.
Check out the video on the right to see how a manual treadmill works.
Also, there are two groups of motorized treadmill.
- The first group is the basic models that come with manual angle adjustment. That means before using the treadmill you have to adjust the angle of the board manually to increase or decrease the resistance. Simply, they do not have a lifting motor. Also, they usually support 2-3 levels of resistance, and they are cheap products.
- The other group is the professional treadmills that come with better and more features and with that they provide more comfortable and intensive workouts than the manual or the basic motorized treadmills. For example, you can set the angle of the belt with a push a button and they typically support a 10-15 % angle.
Both versions come with different motors that move the belt, but there is no question that the stronger the motor power, the better. You can easily set the speed to have the training intensity you want. Motorized treadmills are perfect choices from beginners to professional athletes who want to work out in the comfort of their homes.
How do treadmills work?
What to look for when buying a treadmill?
Now you know what types of treadmills are there, so now you should learn what are the features you need to check out before a treadmill purchase.
1. Motor size
Obviously, one of the most important parts is the motor. It gives the speed of the belt and the efficiency.
When you have to compare the capacity of the motors, always focus on the continuous capacity instead of the maximum capacity. The maximum capacity is usually much higher but lasts for a shorter time than the constant capacity.
Knowing the continuous capacity of the treadmill is more useful to know which model is more suitable for the workouts we will do. Typically, the higher the horsepower the motor has, the greater the capacity it can work in the long run with continuous loading.
Unfortunately, there is not an official specification to calculate the constant loading. That is why treadmill manufacturers usually exaggerate the real consistent horsepower of a product.
On the other hand, the treadmill warranty shows the quality of the motor. Buy a home treadmill that comes with at least two years (or more) motor warranty because that can be a sign of quality.
The following short treadmill horsepower guide will help you to pick a model with a suitable horsepower for you.
- Walking: 2.0 hp
- Jogging: 2.5 hp
- Running: 2.75 hp
So, do not forget the best treadmills for running have a very powerful motor. A 3.0 hp treadmill is the minimum.
2. Incline range
As I mentioned before, treadmills come with an adjustable running area to increase the resistance. With the help of this function, you can have a feeling as if you were running or walking up a hill.
Because of the incline your treadmill workouts will be more challenging, and you will be able to burn more calories for sure. Also, this feature will make your training more versatile and develop your endurance even better.
Typically, the simplest models come with 2-3 incline angles, and you have to set the angle manually before starting your workout.
While the professional motorized treadmills can be set with a push of a button without stopping your workout. And they support up to 15% inclination angle.
Different models come with various maximum speed. Most of the traditional treadmills support 0-10 mph (0-16 km/h).
If you are a beginner, a maximum 10 mph products will do for you. However, keep in mind as you develop, you may need a treadmill that supports 11- 14 mph (17-22 km/h) to have more intensive workouts. So, keep fitness levels in mind is important.
4. Shock Absorption
Fortunately, most of the products come with shock absorption that is built inside or outside of the belt. It can be sprung or solid gum cushioning.
The task of cushioning is to absorb the stress that happens in knees and other joints during running. If you suffer from spine, knee or back problems or if you are overweight it is strongly recommended to use a running machine that comes with quality shock conversion.
5. The Size of The Belt
The size of the running area (treadmill deck) differs from models to models. Frequently, the home treadmills come with 44 – 61 inches (110 – 155 cm) long and 14 – 18 inches (35-45 cm) cushioning.
Obviously, the shorter and narrower treadmill size dimensions do not provide a good user experience and they are maybe more suitable for walking or jogging. But with regular usage, we may be able to get used to that width.
On the other hand, it is a fact that the larger the running area, the less concentration it needs to use. Some manufacturers develop extra wide and long gym-quality treadmills that provide extra comfortable usage.
If you are higher than average, do not waste money on a small machine, though. Get one with a big running deck with plenty of width.
From the following chart, you can check out which is the most suitable running area for you depending on the treadmill exercise you want to do.
Recommended treadmill length for various activities:
- Walking: 43 inches long and 14 inches wide (110 × 35 cm)
- Jogging: 47 inches long and 16 inches wide (120 × 40 cm)
- Running: 50 inches long and 18 inches wide (125 × 45 cm)
- For extra comfort: 55 inches or longer and 20 inches or wider (140 × 51 cm or more)
6. Treadmill Display
There is a wide range of displays the treadmills come with. They can be LCD or LED, which is brighter, so it is easier to read.
There are no running machines without some kind of computer technology that gives at least essential workout data such as the taken distance. But the more professional models show more than enough info plus they have several inbuilt workout programs.
From the display, you will know your speed, distance, angle of the board, calories burned, time and other workout tracking options. They are also compatible with various fitness apps and entertainment options.
The modern treadmills come with several ready to use and tailor-made workout options that you can use to have interval training at home. This type of exercise is not only more efficient to burn fat and develop your cardio, but also keep your workouts versatile and enjoyable. Plus, everyone can find a program for their fitness levels.
You just need to pick a program, and it will do everything automatically such as changing the speed or the angle. They stimulate various challenges like interval training or hill running.
The cheaper models usually come with only a few program options. While the more expensive ones are stuffed with them, usually more than 10. Having more programs available helps us to pick one that suits our fitness needs such as losing weight or running longer.
Also, professional models allow us to create and store our own programs.
8. Heart Rate Monitor
Another great feature of the modern home treadmills is heart rate monitoring. With the help of this function, you can do workouts based on your pulse. You can set the maximum and minimum heart rate based on your fitness level, age, gender, height, and weight. And it automatically modifies the speed or the angle to get the pulse rate you desire.
This function is beneficial for those who want to work out safely or want to adjust their training to their fitness aims like weight loss or developing endurance.
The heart rate monitors can be placed on the arms or with a chest strap, but there are wireless models as well.
Another critical part of a machine is the roller system. The bigger the rollers are, the better. And the size of the rollers is the difference between the home and commercial treadmills.
The big rollers have several benefits. Because of the less stress the running belt and the roller bearing last longer. They can be loaded 40% more, and they keep the belt at the right place.
No matter how expensive machine you buy, if you do not pay attention to maintaining it regularly, sooner or later the problems will come. The most important task is to use special treadmill lubricant depending on how often you use. And of course, keep it clean and use it indoor. Check every month if all the bolts are tight and the condition of the belt.
11. Is it folding?
Another important feature that you should check out if it is folding or not, especially if you have a lack of space at home.
Folding treadmills come with a unique mechanism that lets you fold up the machine so that you can store it easily. However, typically these treadmills have a shorter running area, so it is maybe not the best option for runners.
If you are serious about running or you are tall, you’d better not buy a folding treadmill. They have a large running space and tons of other beneficial features. Although, you will need space to store and use them comfortably and safely. I would not buy one if I lived in a small flat.
12. Weight capacity
Don’t forget to check out the maximum user capacity the machine supports. The higher, the better since it is the sign of durability.
From the following interesting video, you can learn more treadmill buying tips.
Is buying a treadmill worth it or join a gym?
If you ask me the most beneficial cardio equipment we can have at home is, without a doubt, a treadmill. Running has numerous health benefits, and if you use a cushioned treadmill, you can enjoy even more.
You can run no matter what the weather is and burn calories. Because of the shock absorption technology (cushioning) they come with you have less impact on your joints as if you were running on concrete. You can choose from various routines that support your weight loss or fitness aims. And you can work out whenever you want from the comfort of your home. So, treadmill running has many benefits.
If you want to purchase a treadmill that will serve you for long years and help you to keep developing, get a machine that comes with in-built programs, several speed options, and an adjustable angle. Cardio equipment like that can help you to go from a beginner to a trained athlete.
Learn more: Treadmill pros and cons
What are the best treadmill brands for home use?
Nautilus, NordicTrack, Sole, LifeSpan, Horizon Fitness, Precor, Life Fitness, ProForm are among the most popular manufacturers who make the best buy treadmills for home. But, always check out the product reviews carefully.
What is the best time to buy a treadmill?
Well, if you look around you can always find great deals on Amazon and other stores. However, Black Friday time is full of great discounts.
How much does a good treadmill cost?
Depending on the type and the features of the models, you can get one from $100 to $3000 and up.
- Budget treadmills are from $100 to $500, and they are the manual ones suitable for beginners and not for active everyday usage. So, if you find a cheap treadmill, be careful.
- Mid-range running machines are around $750-$3000, and they are suitable for almost everyone who wants to workout at home.
Above $3000 price range you can get commercial grade equipment, so they are only for those who want real luxury.
I hope you have learned how to buy a running treadmill, and you will be able to purchase one that will help you to be healthy and fit.
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